Contained Object Transfer System - Patent 8083456

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Contained Object Transfer System - Patent 8083456 Powered By Docstoc
Description: 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to a so-called FIMS (Front-Opening Interface Mechanical Standard) system used when transferring a contained object, for example a wafer, held in a transfer container referred to as a pod between semiconductorprocessing apparatuses in semiconductor production processing, to a contained-object transfer system for transferring the contained object between the semiconductor processing apparatuses, and more specifically to a contained-object (wafer) transfersystem including an FIMS system in which a pod referred to as a so-called FOUP (Front-Opening Unified Pod) that is a sealed container for containing the wafer is placed and a cap of the pod is opened/closed to transfer the wafer from/into the pod and atransfer chamber that has a mini-environment connected to the FIMS system and is provided with a robot for transferring the wafer therein. 2. Related Background Art Semiconductor production processing used to be performed in a so-called clean room whose inside is highly purified for dealing with a semiconductor wafer. However, in view of addressing the increased sizes of wafers and cost cutting forcontrolling the clean room, in recent years, a method has being employed in which only an inside of a processing apparatus, a pod (container of wafer), and the mini-environment for accommodating a transfer robot that hands over the wafer from the pod tothe processing apparatus are kept in a highly purified state. The pod includes a main unit in a shape of a substantial cubic that has a shelf therein capable of holding a plurality of wafers disposed at a space in parallel and an opening provided on one of surfaces forming outer surfaces out of/into whichthe wafer is taken/put, and a cap for closing the opening. A pod having the opening not formed on a bottom surface thereof but on one side surface (a surface facing the mini-environment) thereof is generally referred to as the FOUP. The presentinvention is mainly addre